Pitch update

"Is it, or isn't it?" is the phrase on the lips of London's direct marketing shops. Orange hasn't actually called a DM pitch yet, but has admitted it's looking at its agency arrangements.

There's a lot of speculation that Orange will simply move the account to Chemistry, which came a close second when Orange appointed Wunderman last year. Chemistry denies the rumour as "piffle", however.

There are some ad agencies more than a little peeved with Virgin Trains just now. The rail operator, having sent RFIs to ad agencies, has drawn up a shortlist composed entirely of digital specialists. There's a whiff of a client not quite sure of what he or she wants on this one ...

We hear McCann Erickson has been eliminated from the £27 million Homebase pitch, leaving Leo Burnett and CHI & Partners in the running. It's said to be down to research now, so let's not hold our breath for any groundbreaking advertising when the work breaks.

Meanwhile, TAG Heuer, the purveyor of fine watches, has drawn up a list for its global agency review, and a continental affair it is, too. Step forward Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam, CLM BBDO, McCann Erickson Paris and Ogilvy Paris.

And finally ... word on the street is that agencies are finding the Halifax brief a tough nut to crack. The brand has a heritage, courtesy of the incumbent, Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners, of populist advertising of a cheery nature. But how do you build on that when credit is crunching so loudly? Good luck to DLKW, TBWA\London and DDB London. Pitches are scheduled for next week.